Sexual Harassment at Work Affects Half of Women
According to a recent study 52% of women surveyed suffered sexual harassment at work. This type of harassment comes in different forms. Often it is subtle and complex. However, it is still an offence.
This article looks deeper at sexual harassment, and discusses what you can do if you are a victim of it.
Sexual harassment is someone behaving in a way which makes you feel offended, upset, or intimidated. Needless to say, the behaviour in question is usually of a sexual nature. It can also be verbal. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. Such harassment can take place over a long period, or be one particular incident.
The Trades Union Congress conducted the survey. The results illustrated that more than fifty per cent of women had experienced unwanted sexual behaviour at work.
As discussed above this behaviour took several different forms. It included comments about individual’s bodies, inappropriate jokes and even sexual advances. It can also include sending emails with sexual content. Most common are comments or jokes. Unwelcome sexual advances, touching or invading a person’s personal space are not uncommon. Displaying offensive pictures or photos is not as common as before, but it does occur despite the media ‘Page 3’ culture largely disappearing.
The TUC investigation included social segmentation. The union created categories based on age asking the same questions to all. Yet those in the 16-24 age category, the proportion reported sexual harassment higher at 63%. Significantly, approximately 1 in 8 women described behaviours towards them which would qualify as criminal sexual assault.
Definite reluctance to report sexual harassment
Unfortunately, the majority of participants confessed that they did not and would not report these incidents to their employers for fear of work related repercussions.
What is the difference between sexual harassment and criminal sexual assault? No employee in England and Wales must work in an environment that is hostile, intimidating, or humiliating. Employers can be held liable for employees committing acts of sexual harassment, especially if an employer does nothing to tackle the issue. Every workplace in England and Wales should have a clear work policy set out. It should encourage employees to report instances of sexually offensive behaviour.
If you have been the victim of any form of sexual harassment, however small you may or may not think the incident is, you might be able to claim for damages from your employer. It is even more of a serious issue if your employer did nothing to resolve the issue.
Please call us on 01772 203303, we are Preston based lawyers, our office is warm and friendly. You can fill out our sexual harassment claim form online too.
If you don’t want to seek legal action, there are other things you can do to put pressure on an employer. Basically an employers is responsible under the Equality Act 2010, you can quote from this. There is also lots of good advice via the Citizens Advice Bureau website and also on the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) website.